12 great day trips from Manila

Best Day Trips from Manila: Lake Taal and Mabini
Stand Up Paddle Boarding – one of our recommended day trips from Manila


There are lots of things to do in Manila with kids but sometimes we all need to escape the city, whether you’re a long-term Manila resident or just visiting The Philippines with your family. Fortunately there are numerous great destinations near metro Manila that can be visited as a day trip (many can be extended for a weekend getaway from Manila, too). If you’re looking for weekend breaks from Manila then take a look at this post.

Be aware that Dengue Fever is prevalent in The Philippines. This post has advice on the best mosquito repellents for babies and kids.

Post and photos by Philippa Langrish

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The best day trips from Manila 

Best day trips from Manila
Windsurfing on Lake Taal


To give you an idea of how long it takes to travel for a day tour near Manila, we’ve broken down the travel times below. Please remember that journey times can be longer (and occasionally shorter) depending on whether it’s a weekday or weekend, the time of day and if it’s a national holiday. The following times are for guidance only: make sure to check Waze or Google Maps before you set out. The following are some of my favourite day tours near Manila:

  • Enchanted Kingdom: 40 mins
  • Republ1c Wake Park. 1.5 hours
  • Fun Farm Sta. Elena: 1.5 hours
  • Hidden Valley Springs: 2 hours
  • Pinto Art Museum: 2 hours
  • Tagaytay Highlands & Sky Ranch: 2 hours
  • SUP in Lake Taal (2 – 3 hours)
  • Subic Bay Zoo (3 hours)
  • Pico de Loro (2-3 hours)
  • Daranak Falls (2.5 hours)
  • Trek Mount Pinatubo (3 hours)
  • Laiya Beach (3 – 4 hours)

** All journey times are approximate


Manila weekend escapes with kids: Enchanted Kingdom
Enchanted Kingdom


Have a ball at Enchanted Kingdom

One day trip from Manila that is guaranteed to please kids is Enchanted Kingdom, a little gem of a theme park about 40 minutes from metro Manila in Laguna. There is so much to do for kids as young as two years. We took my daughter (age four) and her two friends (ages four and five). While the whole family loved the Logg Jamm and Swinging Chairs, the dads took themselves on the rollercoaster (five times in a row!). Read more about visiting Enchanted Kingdom as a day trip here and on the official Enchanted Kingdom website .


Manila weekend escapes with kids: Republic Wake Park, Laguna
Republic Wake Park, Laguna


Get your thrills at Republ1c Wake Park

Republ1c Wake Park in Laguna is a great Manila day trip if you are up for learning a new sport or are a seasoned wake board pro. Although our three-year-old Maya could not participate she had a good time watching the “wakers” flying past and jumping off the water ramps. If you are travelling with children aged 10+  this is an excellent activity for them. Get them started on a knee board and they will soon be addicted. There is a learner cable and an advanced cable to choose from. Find out more about visiting Republ1c Wake Park, Laguna as a day trip from Manila here and on the official website here.


So much fun at the Fun Farm!


Have fun at the Fun Farm!

Fun Farm Sta Elena is my all time favourite place to take little ones for one day tour near Manila. There are so many hands on activities for the children to benefit from. From scrambling over disused tractors, feeding bunnies and guinea pigs, to learning how to fish, taking a boat ride and riding around the grounds on a horse or Carabao drawn cart. There is even an obstacle course and zip line. The animals are really well cared for and the overall atmosphere is incredibly relaxed. It’s a wonderful nature trip near Manila! Find out more about this visiting Fun Farm Sta Elena as a day trip here and on the official website here.


Manila weekend escapes with kids: Hidden Valley Springs
Hidden Valley Springs


Take a dip in Hidden Valley Springs

One day trip near Manila that is sure to please the entire family is Hidden Valley Springs in the province of Laguna. This tropical rainforest paradise is located off the beaten track, in the town of Calauan, and is accessed down a winding road. There are many spa resorts in Laguna but I think Hidden Valley tops them with its pure natural setting. The natural springs and waterfalls are surrounded by lush vegetation, including approximately 153 species of plant life and towering Amlang trees reported to be more than 300 years old. Six natural pools can be enjoyed. They include two shallow kiddie pools, one natural Jacuzzi and a secluded lovers pool. The pools are relatively shallow and not too hot. Find out more about visiting Hidden Valley as a day trip here.


The Pinto Art Gallery


Get arty at the Pinto Art Museum

The Pinto Gallery is a great destination for families with children and an easy day tour near metro Manila. Set in the hills overlooking Manila, Antipolo has fresh air, great views and an altogether more laid back vibe than its bustling big sister Manila. The gallery itself is a work of art with lofty ceilings, oodles of natural light, indiscriminate pieces of modern art and delightful sculptures, all surrounded by lush, tropical greenery. The museum’s overall mission is to champion the conservation of nature, education of the Filipino people, and open doors for talented artists. Find out more about visiting the Pinto Art Gallery as a day trip from Manila here and on the official website here.


Best day trips from Manila: Tagaytay Volcano
Tagaytay Volcano


Visit the Tagaytay Highlands

Escape the city with a day tour to the Tagaytay Highlands, best known for the spectacular Taal Volcano. This mystical volcano sits in the middle of a lake and, if you’re travelling with children aged 8 years and older, you can take a boat to the volcano and go for a hike. Be careful though, it is the second most active volcano in The Philippines with 33 historical eruptions! If that sounds like too much hard work, you can admire the view from one of the many hillside eateries instead. Nearby is Sky Ranch, a fun treat for kids. Find out more about visiting the Tagaytay Highlands as a day trip here.


Stand Up Paddle Boards Lake Taal Mabini
The perfect family day out


Take to the water on a SUP 

Stand Up Paddle Boarding has proved a tremendous family activity for us in the Philippines and one of our favourite Manila day trips. Our two children are still too young to try it on their own but we have fun as a family paddling with the kids on-board. We regularly travel to Taal Lake to spend the day on the water. It’s a fun way to work out while being treated to the spectacular views of Taal volcano, Tagaytay city, and the charming local houses of Wawa, Tanauan which speckle the shore. Being on the lake gives you a whole new perspective of the area as you drift past fisherman, islands and coves. Find out more about visiting Lake Taal as a day trip from Manila here.


Manila weekend escapes with kids: Subic Bay
Meet and greet at Zoobic Safari


Walk with the animals in Subic Bay

About three hours drive from Manila is Subic Bay, a strange mishmash of burgeoning tourism and the remnants of American military presence. The bay is dotted with navy ships, while the main strip glitters with newly refurbished bars and restaurants. We went to escape the city and to discover Zoobic, an excellent animal safari. The three-hour tour is informative and lots of fun and there are plenty of opportunities to interact with the animals. Our intrepid three-year-old couldn’t wait to get involved; holding a python, handling an owl and riding a pony. The interactive and conservation spirit of Zoobic will have your kids thoroughly entertained and informed of all creatures great and small. Subic Bay is a fun day tour from Manila for all the family.


Manila weekend escapes with kids: Pico de Loro
Pico de Loro


Hit the beach at Pico de Loro

Pico de Loro is one of the closest family beach resorts to Manila and is a great 1 day getaway near Manila. There are easy hikes for kids in the area and a brown but clean sandy beach (with toilets and showers). Our children spent hours splashing in the waves, swimming in the sea and playing on the sand. We have also visited and stayed overnight at the Pico Sands Hotel, which gives you more time at the beach. Find out more about visiting Pico de Loro as a day trip here.


Daranak Falls in Tanay, Rizal


Swim under Daranak Falls

Located in Tanay, Rizal, just a couple of hours from Manila are these 14metre high waterfalls that make for a good full day trip from Manila. We visited Daranak Falls with a group of my daughter Maya’s school friends and had a wonderful day out. Positioned at the foot of the foot of the Tanay mountains and surrounded by lush, jungly vegetation, it makes for a beautiful escape from the city, particularly during the hot summer months. Find out more about visiting Daranak Falls as a day trip here.


Best day trips from Manila - hike Mount Pinatubo
We enjoyed a fantastic hike to Mount Pinatubo


Take a day hike to Mount Pinatubo

Mount Pinatubo is an active stratovolcano located on the island of Luzon, 55 miles northwest of Manila. The volcano last erupted in June 1991 and was one of the most destructive eruptions of the 20th century. Today Mt Pinatubo is a safe place to visit and within volcano’s crater is a beautiful lake with crystal clear waters. Mount Pinatubo is one of my favourite trips from Manila. Trekking Mt Pinatubo is a hugely popular activity and one that I would highly recommend, although it is probably best suited to older children due to the early start and the bumpy jeep ride across the ash fields. That said, I do know a few families who have enjoyed this trek with toddlers in backpacks. Find out more about visiting Mt Pinatubo as a day trip here.


Things to do with Kids around Manila
Laiya Beach is an easy getaway from Manila


Head to the ocean at Laiya Beach

If you are in need of a beach fix and do not want to fly or go by boat then Laiya Beach is your best beach option near Manila. It’s located on the coast of South Luzon and is a three- to four-hour drive from Manila. The beach is clean and tranquil (unlike most of the other resorts in Batangas) and our daughter was happy to play in the sand and splash in the shallow waters. Find out more about visiting Laiya Beach as a day or weekend trip from Manila here.




20 thoughts on “12 great day trips from Manila”

  1. I’ve yet to experience Manila but I never hear bad things. My friend is living there now and I would just love to meet her one day and do all this fun stuff!

    1. Fun! I didn’t realize that there are so many family-friendly things to do outside of Manila. The Taal Volcano sounds so interesting, and I’m sure my kids would love that a boat trip, hike and a volcano are all part of the excursion.

  2. I haven’t been to Manilla yet. These looks like some great day trips. Visiting the Tagaytay Highlands looks like it would be amazing.

    1. Dear Alouise. Yes there are some really fabulous day trips as well as weekenders which will be posted soon. We love escaping to Tagaytay when the temperatures soar in May and April. It is so much cooler there and the air is fresher than in the city.

    1. Dear RaW, i am glad we have given you some ideas. We often take visitors to Hidden Valley as it is so idyllic. Mount Pinatubo was an unforgettable experience. I am keen to find more kids friendly hikes in the Philippines soon.

    1. If you SUP on Lake Taal with Tono from Filisup it will probably we just you and and maybe a lone fishing boat. The lake is so quiet. However, i wouldnt want to fall in the Lake too many times. Maybe head to Batangas where the water is clear.

  3. You’ve painted a fabulous picture of activities outside Manila! That Fun Farm looks exactly like its description, the perfect place to entertain the little ones. I’ve heard so many good things about visiting the Philippines, most often from my many Filipino friends in Vancouver! 😉 I’ll have to get there myself soon.

  4. Wow! there’s so much to do near Manila! I assumed you had to head to the islands for more adventure. My kids love SUP and they’d love to do it without having to go to the islands.

    1. Yes Filipsup is a great organisation and they are so flexible too. Even if you want to go further afield they can help you plan your trip. Lake Taal is a great place to clock up some SUP miles

    1. Hi there, manila is a great city. There are heaps of cool places to visit in the city and a short drive away. There is always so much to do with the kids i am often spoilt for choice.

  5. Dear Nancy
    I have been here for three years now and have had to hunt for family friiendly places outside the city. My kids love coming on adventures with me. It feels good to escape the bubble and try new things, local specialities and meet different people.

  6. You made me miss Philippines more. I live in Subic and glad that you were able to visit our city, Your daughter looks so cute and brave for holding a snake. Cool! I’m glad that you were able to discover number of places outside Manila. The traffic in the city is terrible so these are really great alternatives.

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